After Joining Labor, Ex General Says Security for Israel Means Separating From the Palestinians

Tal Russo, former IDF general, says he grew up on Labor values, including 'security first, then a hand outstretched for peace' ■ Labor chair Gabbay: Likud is morally corrupt

Tal Russo in Labor Party press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, February 20, 2019.
Ofer Vaknin

Tal Russo, a former general who was placed on the number two slot in the Labor Party's ticket on Tuesday ahead of the April 9 election, told reporters that real security for Israel means "separating from the Palestinians."

“Our vision and our interest is to part ways with the Palestinians, and the way there is a regional solution of neighboring countries as well as the two-state solution,” he said at a press conference Wednesday. He added that “we must not allow the Palestinians to lead us to a single state with an Arab majority. That would be going against our grandfathers and grandmothers who came to build a Jewish state.”

Russo was placed second on the Labor Party ticket. His roles in the army included commander of the Southern Command, commander of the so-called Depth Corps (which coordinates long-range Israeli army activity deep in "enemy territory"), and head of the Operations Directorate.

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Russo said that he and Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay share a worldview about Israel’s future and security. “I was glad that Avi called on me to be part of the team he is leading,” the ex-general told the press. "Today I don a new uniform, in the service of the State of Israel."

Russo said that he had grown up on the principles of the Labor Party,  “including security first, then a hand outstretched for peace.” He also said that Israel is being weakened by lack of unity and that things could be done differently.

Gabbay also attended the press conference, contributing that the rival party Likud “is morally bankrupt,” after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated his support for a merger between the right-wing parties abayit Hayehudi, the National Union, and the Jewish National Front.